Developments at Greenfield Car shows,

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Developments at Greenfield Car shows,

Post by MartyBufalini » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:20 am

For those of you who are interested, some new developments in the effort to salvage the Motor Muster and old Car festival. Below is a thread I've posted on other forums. I'm very curious to know how these changes have affected your decision to attend either event, assuming you are close enough to attend.

The thread:

A couple of friends of mine met with John Neilson and, in a nutshell, the outlook is not good.

I don't want to beat a dead horse but I thought I would share with you what I know.

Before I go into some detail, let me cut to the bottom line: they were left with the impression that THF doesn't care about either MM, OCF or, the participants.

(I'll try to put conversation notes in narrative form, so bear with me.)

MM and OCF, according to Neilson, do not make money. THF makes more money on weddings on the weekends and the shows interfere with that, (My side note: For past participants or visitors to the shows, you may have noticed some weddings taking place during either show.)

Neilson said they may be looking to combine MM and OCF into one show (My note: thus, freeing up a weekend. But, if they are having problems with the number of cars and trailers at two shows, what makes them think one big show is going to be easier? This also, I speculate, would severely limit the number of cars if the show takes in vehicles 1976 and older.)

Lansing to Dearborn: It was started as a way to publicize OCF. Although my understanding is at first LTD was excluded from OCF, Neilson said they are welcome, just not their trailers. LTD offered to solve the trailer issue for THF (essentially doing THF's work) if they could could get a price break from the $50 registration fee. Neilson, apparently, pretty much said "no", that if they do it for LTD, THF would have to do it for others. Consequently, LTD is doing their own meet and tour and will NOT be going to OCF.

Neilson: THF does not want to be known as an old car museum. They want to be known as an innovation organization (My note: it is my understanding that the name "Henry Ford" will be dropped from the name of the institution.)

Neilson wants participants to dress in period costume and stay with their cars and "narrate" them. (My note: this may be why the Pass In Review, in my opinion, a key part of both events, is 50% by invitation and 50% lottery.) He wants more "engagement" and is looking for ways to pull in more young people, not car people, through the gate. Neilson said most visitors are participants or their friends, and that hurts the gate. When asked how he wants to draw in more young an non-car people, Neilson said he has no idea.

As for the $50. non-refundable fee, Neilson said that when they initiated the a $25 fee, participant attendance fell, but then rose. Neilson anticipates the same thing will happen with the new fee. He said that if people were really "hung up" on the new fee, maybe something can be worked out.

Now, on to what I know apart from the above meeting. It is my understanding, that very few, if any, past or new participants from Ohio will be going to either MM or OCF.

LTD, as mentioned, will not be going and is creating it's own event.

There are some folks who are talking to Gilmore about creating a sort of OCF at that location and Gilmore, apparently is VERY interested. It won't be this year, but, perhaps next year.

Letters have been or will be sent from various clubs, both single and multi-make clubs, to Neilson and others at THF regarding the changes.

I attended an old car meeting the other night where and lot of members had previously attended the OCF and it was asked, who will be going to the OCF this year. Two people raised their hands.

It appears there is a general "boycott" of the events.

This is something I sincerely hoped would not happen. I really wanted a meeting of the minds between participants and THF regarding both events so as to keep the events basically unchanged.

This may sound over-dramatic, but the entire situation makes my heart bleed. Those of you who have been going to both or one of the events, will understand this.

I have offered my services to those trying to "replace" OCF with Gilmore to organize and, although I retired from narrating, and as a narrator, should they do a Pass-in-Review.

Sorry for being long-winded, but I thought you should know.


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Re: Developments at Greenfield Car shows,

Post by MartyBufalini » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:47 pm

No one, huh? So, if you've gone before you're going this year? Or, if you were thinking of going, the changes have not affected your decision?

Just curious.


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Re: Developments at Greenfield Car shows,

Post by Buick Truck Guy » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:32 pm

As an update to the Old Car Festival, the management of The Henry Ford saw that there was a problem after the Motor Muster. I was not there but I heard that there were maybe 200 or so cars. This was down from close to 1,000. Dramatic drop.

That said, there were a lot of changes implemented after that show to ensure a more successful show for The Old Car Festival. I have to say that the management of The Henry Ford went out of their way to accommodate everyone to get the car shows back on track. I was told that they ended up about 550 vehicles registered and 90 high wheel cycles. God looked favorably on the change and there was perfect weather for the weekend. Every one that I talked to agreed that it was a good time and show.

I also participated in the Dearborn/ Lansing / Dearborn tour which had almost 40 cars in the tour. Weather was crisp and nice except Thursday afternoon when it rained. The truck completed the 220 mile run. :-)

Here is a link to some pictures on the AACA forum site in case you have not seen them. ... nt-1645460

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Re: Developments at Greenfield Car shows,

Post by MartyBufalini » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:05 am

The dismal, depressing turnout for the Motor Muster (MM) sent management at The Henry Ford (THF) a clear and resounding message that the changes implemented in January were not going to be accepted. Shortly after the MM, management held an invitation only meeting to discuss the issues. Management present included, Patricia Mooradian, President, Christian Overbeck, Vice President,John Neilson (can't remember his title) and, Jim Johnson former (and now current?) Special Events Manager. Invitees included long-time MM and/or Old Car Festival (OCF) participants, current and past curators and, current and past Special Events managers, among others.

The fact that THF management called the dinner meeting was a significant recognition by them that something had to be done. The meeting was cordial and very friendly but, management got an earful on the significance and the importance of both events to the public and participants. To their credit, in short, management recognized they made a mistake and took actions to correct the situation. As a former executive of a large corporation, I know that admitting a mistake and correcting it is something that is highly unusual.

THF management went above and beyond to correct the situation. They bent over backwards to make things right.

THF held a free reception Friday night for participants and that was well-done and well received.

Although the OCF was down by about 200 vehicles (there were about 550), it was still a rousing success (many former or would-be participants made other plans when the initial changes were first announced). By noon on Saturday, there were 11,000 visitors and by the end of the day there were 14,000. Food sales were up 67%!!!

My understanding is that THF now appreciates the importance of both unique events and the improvements will continue.

Some of us were pretty vocal to managment in our complaints and concerns. If you attended the OCF, and are so inclined, I encourage you to be as vocal to the above mentioned management as you may have been in your complaints and/or concerns.

The "Festival" was put back in the Old Car Festival.

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Re: Developments at Greenfield Car shows,

Post by hcca » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:50 am

Congratulations on a job well done and a big thank you to THF for putting "Festival" back in the Old Car Festival

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